INCIDENCE OF SMUT AND RED ROT DISEASES OF SUGARCANE IN SOUTHERN PART OF NIGER STATE, NORTH CENTRAL NIGERIA
Sugarcane production is threatened globally by smut and red rot diseases, which farmers in the study area take for granted because they see the diseases as natural calamities associated with large-scale cultivation of sugarcane. Incidence of smut and red rot diseases of sugar-cane in the study area was assessed between October 2016 and June, 2017. Thirty-two sugarcanes (800 per farm) were assessed on forty farms randomly selected from 16 towns/villages in Southern part of Niger State. Each of the sugarcanes aged between 6 and 10 months were observed visually for symptoms of the diseases. Number of infected sugarcanes was used to determine the percentage incidence of the diseases on each farm. Percentage incidence of smut ranged from 25.0 to 35.0 (Bida LGA), 20.0 to 22.5 (Gbako LGA) and 20.0 to 30.4 (Lavun LGA), while percentage incidence of red rot ranged from 5 to 6.5 (Bida LGA), 6.1 to 12.0 (Gbako LGA) and 5.4 to 9.3 (Lavun LGA). Significant pairwise differences at p≤0.05 existed in the means of percentage incidence of smut in Bida and Gbako as well as Bida and Lavun LGAs. Significant pairwise differences at p≤0.05 also existed in the means of percentage incidence of red rot in Bida and Gbako as well as Gbako and Lavun LGAs in this study. The study concluded that smut is of higher incidence in the study area. It is recommended that the local farmers be sensitized to adopt effective control measures for these diseases.